a difference of opinion

S: Do you think that things will ever change?

A: What do you mean by change?

S: Do you think that Ahmadi’s will ever be accepted as equal citizens if not Muslims? That all girls everywhere will be allowed education? That maybe even people who are gay will feel safe in Pakistan? That target killings will stop? That we can talk about things like atheism, Balochistan, Bangladesh, genocide and domestic abuse openly and honestly.

A: Well... to be honest, the question is not “will they”, but “should they”. Should any of these things take place in Pakistan? Things will change, but for me, the good things that should happen are very different from yours. I would like to see people secure from terrorism, to have the real Islamic way of life restored, not the fundamentalist-extremist version. I would like to see better healthcare and education standards. I would like to see people respect the military more and be less obsessed with social status and money. I would like to see modesty, respect for elders…

S: We have two very different versions of what we would like to see in the future. I want freedoms, you want security.

A: Yes. It seems we can’t get along can we? You liberals and us… conservatives.

S: That’s the thing. We “liberals” believe we can. All the things that you want are compatible with what I want… we could have both! The problem is, you want only what you want. To hell with the rest. And you mean it literally to, that people like me, who believe in full freedom of expression, deserve to go to hell.

A: Not me. I kind of like you Sadiq. But yes, I understand what you are saying. But there are just some things that are wrong; there are no grey areas in that. You can’t fight against this way of life.